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St. Petersburg to go on gardening spree ahead of G8 summit

ST. PETERSBURG, June 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's second city will see 6.5 million newly planted flowers bloom for a meeting of world leaders next month, city officials said Monday.

St. Petersburg will host the annual summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations July 15-17. Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the group.

"Planting is in full swing now. Plants such as tulips are being dug out and replaced with summer-flowering plants," an official said, naming geraniums, floss-flowers, hydrangeas, petunias and touch-me-nots among the season's highlights.

Some 875,000 flowers will be planted in vases and pots as well as in flower-beds to decorate the city center. Another 746,000 will line an avenue leading to the suburb of Strelnya, where most of the G8 summit's events are to take place in the Konstantinovsky Palace residence.

Officials said St. Petersburg would see 50% more flowers bloom this summer than in previous years, adding that up to 800 gardeners have been mobilized for the ambitious planting campaign.

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